"Walk through remnants of the island's old coconut plantation."
Bird Island has an extensive shoreline which has evolved over the years and has permitted the establishment of several plants along the coast. One of the first plants to colonise mobile sand and begin the process of stabilisation is a sedge (Cyperus pachyrhiza). This, along with the veloutier (Scaevola taccada), bwa tabac (Tournefortia argentea) and bwa damande (Suriana maritima), form Bird Island's shorehoreline vegetation. These plants create excellent conditions for nesting Sooty Terns, which have expanded their colony out onto the Northern beaches where the plants are growing in abundance.
When the present owners bought Bird Island in 1967, almost the entire island was covered by coconut palms (Cocos nucifera) due to its past as a coconut plantation. Much of the palms were cleared to allow for the rehabilitation of the island's natural vegetation, and to create areas for the Sooty Terns which nest in wide open spaces. Some of the original coconut plantation still remains in the centre of the island, and as fallen coconuts have germinated a new palm “wilderness” has been created.
Other species of trees on the island mainly include the mapou (Pisonia grandis), which have become established through its seeds, which stick to the feathers of seabirds and are then dispersed; the beach cabbage (Scaevola Taccada), which has glossy succulent leaves and is unaffected by strong salty winds thus acting as a windbreak; along with large casuarina trees (Casuarinas equisetifolia) which have been planted on most inhabited coralline islands.
Ninety-two species of plant have been recorded on the island, of which 21 are indigenous in Seychelles and one, the indian nettle (Acalypha indica) is an endemic. Like citronelle (Cymbopogon citratus) and many of our other plants, the indian nettle is known for its medicinal puposes. Other plants you will find on the island are ornamental species such as the frangipani (Plumeria), which is found in the hotel grounds, and crops such as pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo), cucumber (Cucumis sativus), lettuce (Lactuca sativa), tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum) and papaya (Carica papaya) at our farm.
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